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Fire Ants and Grow Tubes

Fire ants were colonizing the site of this mound for about 30 days before it became visible above grade.

fire ant nest

The question is, how long have they been building a town house in a vineyard grow tube before you notice them?

A grape grower in Waco, TX has reported fire ant nesting inside grow tubes (shorthand for growing tube, growth tube, etc.) surrounding newly planted vines. This is not just a chance occurrence: 20% of his vines have had nests in the tubes. He gets rid of them by flooding the tube with Sevin XLR (at about one-half gallon of tank mix per nest containing 3-4 tbsp per gallon).

Then comes the nasty job of carefully removing 12-18 inches of soil from the young vine -without damaging buds.

AmdroTRADE MARK is a fire ant bait and eradicant. It works just like the household ant trap: the worker ants take the toxic substance back to the mound and feed it to everyone (including, and especially, the queen). This approach is fine if you can wait for a couple of days for the colony to die. Flooding the nest with Sevin sounds like a quicker way to return the area to a safe work zone.

Thanks to our friend in Waco for this timely warning. And, by the way, if you have good tips and suggestions, they are never too late for Grapeseek.

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